The wheel cross, sun cross, Odin's cross or Woden's
Odin and Teutonic Wuotan or Woden was the supreme god of the Nordic religion before Christianity. Odin
was the god of art, culture, warfare, and the dead; depicted as an
old, one-eyed man with two ravens as his intelligence agents and
The structure is one of the first non-pictorial graphs to appear when humankind was on the threshold of the Bronze Age. It is common on rock carvings. It appears in ancient Egypt, China, pre-Columbian America, and the Near East. From the facts available it seems as if is associated with the wheel, not so much with its invention as with its revolutionary effect on the existing society. In ancient China this sign was associated with thunder, power, energy, head, and respect.
In ancient Babylon the similar structure symbolized the sun god, Shamash.
When the first ideographic writing systems were developed, was included among the signs. It appears in the earliest systems of writing used by the Egyptians, Hittites, Cretians, Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans.
In ancient Greece signified a sphere or globe. It was also used as a natal chart pattern in ancient astrology. In modern astrology it is the sign for the planet Earth, the astrological element earth, and Fortuna, the Part of Fortune, an important position in the natal chart related to progress and hindrances in the material aspect of an individual's life. (Compare with in Group 39.)
In astronomy it is also used as a symbol for the planet Earth, and is therefore synonymous with .
It is easy to trace a shift in this sign's meaning over time. In earliest times was a symbol for the highest power, the sun, and its counterpart, the king. It represented power and control. This meaning changed so that more and more adopted the meaning of and , i.e. the points of the compass, the earth, and the land.
As has been its custom the Christian Church has included this ancient pagan sign among the crosses of its symbolism. It is known as the gamma cross, the Roman Catholic cross, the consecration cross and the inauguration cross. At the inauguration of a church, the bishop, using blessed water or oil, draws the wheel cross at 12 different places on the church walls. Its use as a halo or gloria, i.e. the spiritual power or energy that holy persons emanate, is associated with its original meaning as a sign of power. During the Middle Ages the alchemists used to signify copper alloys (from the Venus sign, , which also meant copper) and sometimes yleaster or stardust, possibly also meteorite iron.
appears in about 15 modern ideographic systems. In some US meteorological systems it has been used to indicate that visibility is worsened by fog or dust. In some British meteorological systems it can mean a solar halo, i.e. a ring around the sun. In modern ideography is often related to visibility and signalling. Thus on modern German maps it can stand for radar station.
In the US, British, Swedish and French hobo sign systems we find that (as well as and ) means here you will find food, work, and money, or here live generous people.